Organization Details

What is your organization's name?

Teach the World Foundation

What is your organization's classification?


In what city, town, or region is your organization headquartered?

Karachi, Pakistan

Provide your organization’s mission and/or vision statement and list its core values.

Our Mission

Our mission is to establish and deploy effective and scalable models of literacy and learning by leveraging the power of digital technology.

Our Vision
Our vision is to enhance human potential by increasing literacy throughout the world.

Our Core Values

1. Honesty and Integrity

2. Hard work and Dedication

3. Striving for Continuous Improvement and Betterment of Communities

How many products or programs does your organization operate? Please use numeric values only.


What stage of development is your organization’s product or program that is the focus of your LEAP Project?

Growth: An organization with an established product or program that is rolled out in one or more communities.
Team Lead Details

Who (first and last name) is the Team Lead for your application and LEAP Project?

Muzzammil Patel

Describe the role the Team Lead plays in your organization. [100-200 words recommended]

As Head of Research and Evaluation, the team lead is responsible for conducting impact assessments of Teach the World's deployments across its system in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malawi. The team lead oversees the entire evaluation process from development of tools and hiring of field data collectors to analysis and reporting of results. 

The team lead liaises internally with our implementation team and management for reporting of results and identification of areas of strength and improvement.

Moreover, the team lead also liaises with credible third parties for conducting evaluations of our model and validating it. The team lead is also responsible for leading practicum projects in partnership with some of the best educational institutions in Pakistan and abroad.   

Explain how your Team Lead and supporting team members are well-positioned to effectively support the LEAP Project, given other priorities within your organization. [200-500 words - recommended]

Our team brings significant expertise in 

· Successful mega-scale digital transformation

· Innovation in learning,

· 5+ years of successful on-the-ground digital learning deployment

Key leadership personnel include: 

Shafiq Khan, President: Headed digital at Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, where he scaled their digital business from $150 million to $15 billion+. Earlier, Shafiq led the digital transformation of travel by pioneering electronic ticketing and online booking at United Airlines and US Airways, establishing them as a global standard. Shafiq brings invaluable experience successfully scaling digital transformation.

Adnan Ahmed Qureshi, Vice-President: Adnan holds an Ed.M degree in Mind, Brain and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has extensive background experience in the education and ed-tech space in Pakistan, working with leading organizations such as Teach the World Foundation, SABAQ, Teach for Pakistan and The Citizens Archive of Pakistan

Mariam Mian, Assistant Vice President: Mariam holds a Bachelors' degree from Cornell and a Masters' degree from Harvard School of Education. She has extensive experience in the education sector of Pakistan. She has expertise in education systems research, curriculum evaluation and policy analysis. She has worked with leading organizations such as Beaconhouse Group, Pakistan's largest private education provider, UNESCO and Teach for Pakistan.

Muzzammil Patel, Head of Research & Evaluation: Muzzammil holds a BSc in Economics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh. He has worked extensively in the development sector with a focus on education sector NGOs incuding The Citizens Foundation, Pakistan's largest NGO in the education sector. He has worked in program management, monitoring and evaluation, grants and fundraising. 

In addition to that, we have a lean core team of 14 people in 2 countries, strongly supplemented by our partners, whose infrastructure we leverage. Our team is divided into:

Implementation: 6

Research: 4 

Content & Fundraising: 2

Technical Support: 2

Deployment Partners:

50+ facilitators on-ground

Research Contractors: 

30+ (Enumerators, Research Associates)

Our team is ethnically diverse and inclusive: 

In Pakistan, we have people from mainstream cities like Karachi and Lahore as well as remote Himalayan towns of Gilgit-Baltistan.
We also have people from rural districts and villages of Sindh
In Bangladesh, our people are from the Bihari refugee population who represent one of Bangladesh's ethnic minorities
Our deployments in Bangladesh in particular are focused on the Bihari and Rohingya refugee populations, as we aim to target the most marginalized sections wherever we operate
Moreover, our team is also gender-diverse and inclusive:

Our leadership team is gender-balanced
The vast majority of our on-ground teachers and facilitators are female from the local communities where ELAN is deployed
As an organization, we actively aim to have gender balance within our deployments and classrooms


Solution Details

One-line solution summary: In 20 words or less, summarize your organization's product or program that is the focus of your LEAP Project.

The ELAN Digital Micro-schools model provides functional literacy and 21st century skills to the most marginalized populations using digital technologies.

Define the problem that your solution seeks to solve. [200-500 words recommended]

The world is experiencing an educational crisis. According to UNESCO’s Education for All Monitoring Report, about 1 in 10 people in the world cannot read or write, adversely affecting achievement of the SDGs. The developing world is the worst hit, with millions of children out of school and millions more poorly educated.

Traditional education models cannot solve this problem within an acceptable timeframe. By introducing a combination of eLearning, tablets, smartphones, and gamification, digital technology can be a game changer.

Globally, nearly 1 billion people are functionally illiterate, and another billion are barely literate. More than 300 million children are currently out of school (UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2019), and half of all children and adolescents are not learning worldwide (UNESCO 2017).

The consequences are devastating. There is a strong correlation between illiteracy and poverty, poor health, and crime. In economic terms alone the world loses more than US$1 trillion in productivity a year (World Literacy Foundation 2018). The benefits of education are tremendous, with an exponential relationship between literacy and GDP per capita (Cameron and Cameron 2006), as well as other Human Development Index indicators.
The crisis mainly reflects lack of access, quality, and accountability in educational provision. The developing world is particularly affected. A critical constraint is the shortage of more than 69 million teachers globally (UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2016). Learning outcomes are poor, with vast numbers of in-school children underperforming and little accountability in government-run schools.

Pakistan’s education crisis is approaching catastrophic levels. It has more than 22 million children out of school (UNICEF 2019). With the population growing by more than 4 million people a year and a literacy rate of 60 percent (Ministry of Finance 2020), 30–40 million more children could be out-of-school by 2030. Meanwhile, learning outcomes for in-school children are very poor, with approximately 40 percent of fifth graders failing to perform at the second-grade level (DAWN 2019). 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these problems, with 32 million K–5 students affected by school closures in Pakistan (UNESCO 2020). The World Bank reports that closure of seven months would lead to a loss of learning equivalent to 0.7 learning adjusted years of schooling (LAYS). Given that Pakistan already stood at just 4.8 LAYS, these numbers are alarming (Azevedo and others 2020). Morevoer, the devastating floods of 2022 led to the closure of almost 18,000 schools across the country, further worsening the learning losses faced by the students.

Traditional means will not solve this problem in an acceptable timeframe—even if the resources existed. In Pakistan, providing access to 22 million out-of-school children would require more than 87,000 schools and 700,000 teachers (ASER Pakistan 2019)—the equivalent of the construction of 12 schools a day for the next 20 years. There is an imperative need for a rapidly scalable and easily deployable model of education that allows mass access to quality education, with built-in accountability to tackle the global educational crisis with the necessary urgency required.

Describe your solution and how it works in simple terms. [200-500 words recommended]

Launched in communities with large out-of-school populations, the ELAN digital Microschools model provides an excellent alternative for children in urban slums, refugee camps, and internally displaced person (IDP) environments. We rent a room accommodating 25 children, equip it with 25 tablets, hire a teacher or facilitator who is trained in 5 days, and operate 3–5 shifts of 25 children daily. Mobile hotspots provide WiFi powered by solar energy. We can launch schools for 75–125 students in weeks for US$10,000–US$15,000, with annual costs of less than US$10,000. This model can be scaled very rapidly.

Community partnership and engagement is key, with communities providing space, teachers, and support. In Karachi, public-private partnership with the provincial government of Sindh just allowed us to launch 100 additional micro-schools over the next 18 months.

ELAN’s model is a simple and scalable “functional literacy” solution for students in kindergarten to grade 5 (K–5). It has been deployed with excellent results in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Malawi, in varied settings, from urban slums to refugee camps and remote Himalayan villages. The model delivers world-class reading, writing, and math applications in a gamified format, on low-cost tablets and smartphones, in a facilitated setting. ELAN students outperform students in traditional schools, achieving at least 1.5 times the learning gains, as measured by independent third parties across time, multiple geographies, and environments. As part of a “think big, start small” strategy, Pakistan is our starting point to establish these models. Ultimately, we plan to expand these models globally, to millions, in a disciplined, phased manner.

Using award-winning gamified applications on tablets and smartphones, our technology does not require reliance on a trained teacher. Our strategy is to create game-changing transformation by leveraging the Big Five of digital learning:

1. Universal reach and access: Mobile and global Internet can take the world’s best learning anywhere. We manage learning deployments in three countries, on two continents, from Pakistan.

2. Better, faster “self-learning”: The essence of learning is engagement. Digital educational games provide engagement and motivation in unsupervised settings, promoting “self-learning” and 21st century skills like digital literacy and problem solving.

3. Portability, adaptability, and massive scalability: ELAN’s low costs, rapid deployment, and standardized technology and training make our solutions extremely scalable.

4. Transparency and accountability: Built-in tracking in digital applications enables accountability. With data analytics, it enables robust monitoring, evaluation, content adaptation, and personalization.

5. Higher return on investment: High engagement means greater learning. On average, ELAN learning gains are 1.5 times those from traditional teaching. Even at equal cost, the return on investment doubles, and costs at scale can be even lower than they are today.

We deploy award-winning, gamified self-learning applications with proven history in partnership with the following developers:

•Global e-learning Xprize winners KitKit and Onebillion
•Google Read-along
•Curious Learning
•Local language content providers like SABAQ Muse and Taleemabad in Pakistan.

Select the key characteristics of your target population. Select all that apply.

  • Pre-primary age children (ages 2-5)
  • Primary school children (ages 5-12)
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations

In which country or countries does your solution currently operate?

Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malawi

Upload your solution's Theory of Change or Logic Model.

Where would you place your solution on Nesta's Standards of Evidence?

Level 4: You have one + independent replication evaluations that confirms these conclusions.

To date, what research/studies has your organization conducted that have helped demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution? [200-500 words recommended]

Foundational Research: We regularly conduct reviews of empirical best practices in research and assessment in the edtech space throughout the globe. This has allowed us to come into contact with EdTech Hub, MIT Solve, the World Bank as well as Google's e-learning X-Prize winners KitKit and Onebillion both of whom are now our content partners.

Summative Research: In 2016, Nielsen conducted an independent evaluation of our e-learning pilot consisting of 25 students in a government school in Karachi. It was a quasi experimental study with a control group of students following traditional learning, conducted over a period of 4 months

In 2017-2018, we partnered with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Pakistan's leading data collection agency who is also responsible for rolling out the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), Pakistan's largest and most comprehensive education sector report. ITA validated our findings from quasi-experimental evaluations in Karachi and Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan and Dhaka, Bangladesh covering almost 500 students enrolled in our e-learning program along side control groups of students enrolled in traditional learning. 

In 2019-2020, we partnered with the Center of Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). They validated our assessment tools and research methodology after which we conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation of 300 students enrolled in our e-learning program in Lahore and Islamabad in comparison with traditional control groups.

In 2021-2022, we conducted our first round of evaluations independently for our Microschools model, using the same assessment tools and methodology which had been validated by CERP. 

Formative Research: Over the course of 2022-2023, we have started conducting formative assessments to determine students' learning levels and progression over time. The assessment tools were developed in-house and our e-learning facilitators are trained to conduct these assessments every 6 to 8 weeks

What has the research/studies you have conducted revealed about your solution and how did it inform your work moving forward? [200-500 words recommended]

Our summative assessments have provided us with some very encouraging results. We have found out that students enrolled in ELAN outperform students enrolled in traditional schooling by 1.5X in terms of Learning Gains.

This gave us the confidence to continue to scale our program across Pakistan first and then globally. We have received recognition from the World Bank, UNESCO and MIT as finalists in the Solve challenges in 2019 and 2022.

Moreover, it proved that engagement was the essence of our model and allowed us to initiate the digital microshools model as an extension of our existing work. The validation of the microschools model through summative evaluations have proved its efficacy in potentially transforming the education sector. Formative assessments of students enrolled in our microschools have shown that almost 33% of our students are able to learn at an accelerated pace despite having nor prior background in schooling.

The microschools model is now being scaled to 100 schools and 10,000 children across Sindh in Pakistan, in collaboration with the local government under the directive of the Chief Minister of Sindh.

LEAP Project Details

Describe your organization's need to strengthen the evidence base of your solution. [200-500 words recommended]

After evaluating and validating the ELAN model for the last 5 years and gaining global recognition from institutions such as the World Bank, UNESCO and MIT, Teach the World Foundation is currently in the process of partnering with the Sindh Education Foundation and the Government of Sindh to set up 100 micro-schools in the province which will bring 10,000 out of school children into school. 

Through this partnership, Teach the World's ELAN model has taken its first steps towards national and then global scaling. This project aims to mainstream 10,000 out of school children into Grade 3 over a course of 18 months. Thereby making a case for the ELAN microschools model as an effective model of enrolling out of school children and mainstreaming them into existing schools in a reasonable time-frame.

With this level of scaling, we feel the need to set up even more rigorous mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation, identify key performance metrics for this project and develop a more robust research design. With that in mind, we are excited to potentially partner with LEAP fellows in coming up with a validated research design for this project, complete with research methodology, data collection and sampling plan and key performance metrics to evaluate during the course of this project. This will enable us to carry out more robust research and better inform program design as we eventually scale from thousands to millions in Pakistan and then across the globe. 

What are 2-3 research questions that you would like your LEAP Project to help you answer? [100 words recommended]

Question 1: What are the Key Performance Metrics (KPMs) for the ELAN Microschools Model? Metrics should include students' academic prowess, social-emotional well-being and engagement, and overall school health

Question 2: How can we design a research study to best evaluate these KPMs? 

What type of research/studies do you think will help answer your stated questions? Select all that apply.

  • Foundational research (literature reviews, desktop research)
  • Formative research (e.g. usability studies; feasibility studies; case studies; user interviews; implementation studies; pre-post or multi-measure research; correlational studies)

Please elaborate on your selection above by describing your desired outputs of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint. [200 - 500 words recommended]

Output 1: Literature review of similar models globally and how they were evaluated.

Output 2: Interviews with the ELAN Micro-schools Implementation team (President, VP and Implementation Head) to gather information about the model) to understand the model and come up with KPMs.

Output 3: Focus Group with the Teach the World Research Team to understand existing research design and identify areas of strength and improvement.

Output 4: Research Design for the Teach the World-Sindh Government Micro-schools Project covering 10,000 out-of-school children through the ELAN Micro-schools Model.

How will your organization put these outputs into action? [200-500 words recommended]

A research design validated by LEAP Fellows and MIT will give us more confidence in the results of the evaluation of the Teach the World - Sindh Government micro-schools project. This will help us in validating our model for scale across the country and then globally. 

The research report which will be developed after the project will be shared with major local stakeholders (local governments, ministries of education, NGOs, research firms) as well as international aid agencies and institutions (FCDO, World Bank, MIT, UNESCO, USAID) to bring to their attention the scalability and efficacy of ELAN's micro-schools model to solve Pakistan's education crisis. 

Recommendations from the LEAP fellows will be incorporated into Teach the World's research strategy for this project and beyond. A robust research design informed by reviews of existing empirical literature and in-depth insights from our teams will help us redefine our research strategy going forward and will be replicated across multiple contexts and settings as the ELAN Model scales to millions across Pakistan and then globally.


Describe your desired short-term and long-term outcomes of the 12-week LEAP Project sprint for both your organization and solution. [200-500 words recommended]

Short-term outcomes:

1. Redefined research design and strategy for the Teach the World-Sindh Government Micro-schools Project.

2. A stamp of approval from skilled researchers on our research results from the evaluation of the Teach the World-Sindh Government Micro-schools Project.

3. Dissemination of research results across Pakistan with engagement of both local and international stakeholders.

Long-term outcomes:

1. Validated research design for replication across multiple contexts and geographies as the ELAN Microschools Model scales from thousands to millions

2. Validation of the efficacy of ELAN's microschools model in solving the education crises of access, quality and accountability in Pakistan and beyond in a reasonable time-frame.

Solution Team

  • Mariam Mian Teach the World Foundation
  • Muzzammil Patel Teach the World Foundation
  • Adnan Qureshi Teach the World Foundation
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